Cold storage

This article applies to CrashPlan Enterprise and MSPs.png


Cold storage is a temporary storage state for data that is not actively being used by the CrashPlan environment. These archives have been deactivated but not yet completely deleted.

Proper use and configuration of cold storage can help you manage your CrashPlan Enterprise archives, recover data from deactivated archives, and plan for compliance with policies and regulations that affect your organization.


The terms below are used throughout this article.

cold storage

Temporary holding state for archives after they are deactivated but before they expire and are permanently deleted. This is similar to a file in your computer’s Recycle Bin or Trash. A user who has an archive in cold storage still consumes a user subscription. Administrators can retrieve archives from cold storage throughout the cold storage retention period.


Stop a backup and move the archive into cold storage (for eventual deletion). Subscriptions are not immediately freed by deactivation. Devices, users, and organizations can be deactivated. Deactivated users cannot sign in and cannot be added to a legal hold.

Basics of cold storage

When a user, device, or plan is deactivated, its data is not deleted; it is moved into cold storage.

The CrashPlan environment does not interact with data that is stored in archives in cold storage. 

Intended use of cold storage

Cold storage is most often used for these reasons:

  • Preventing accidental deletion: The cold storage period gives administrators time to respond in case a user, device, or organization is deactivated accidentally.
  • Providing a deactivation grace period: When a device is deactivated, its archive is placed into cold storage. This makes it easier to replace the device without the risk of data loss.
  • Supporting your data retention policy: Depending on the requirements of your organization, you can adjust the length of the cold storage retention period.

States of archive storage

Active archive

When a device begins backing up with CrashPlan, its data is stored in an archive. Archives remain active even if the device is disconnected from the network, powered off, or otherwise separated from the CrashPlan cloud.

As long as users have valid subscriptions, archives remain active until an administrator takes action to deactivate them.

Cold storage retention period

For CrashPlan cloud environments, archives are kept in cold storage for 14 days by default. To change the default, update the Move deactivated archives to cold storage quota value. (You may need to disable Inherit quota settings from parent first.)

While archives are in cold storage, they are not monitored by the automatic archive maintenance process.

Expired archive retention period

When an archive's cold storage retention period is over, it becomes an expired archive.

Effects of cold storage

Maintenance operations

Archives in cold storage remain in the CrashPlan cloud, but they do not benefit from most maintenance operations. For example, the following operations do not affect archives in cold storage:

  • Archive validation
  • Archive healing
  • Deduplication
  • Removing files due to updated versioning settings
  • Removing files due to updated file exclusion settings

This list provides highlighted examples, and is not a complete list of all maintenance operations excluded from cold storage.

Legal holds

A deactivated user's cold storage archive cannot be used in a legal hold until the user (and corresponding archive) is reactivated. Further, when a deactivated user's cold storage archives are purged, that data is permanently removed and is unrecoverable.

Carefully plan retention policies so that a cold storage archives remain in place for a sufficient time period to meet your organization's legal needs. You can configure cold storage as described below to specify a specific retention period or disable it entirely.

Configure cold storage

Change cold storage duration

You can change the cold storage retention period for your entire CrashPlan environment or only for specific organizations.

There is no practical upper limit on the duration you can choose for cold storage.

To view or modify cold storage settings for a specific organization:

  1. Sign in to the CrashPlan console.
  2. Select Administration > Environment > Organizations. 
  3. Select an organization.
  4. From the action menu, select Edit.
  5. If needed, enter a new value in Move deactivated archives to cold storage for.
  6. Click Save.

You can review each organization's cold storage retention policy in the organization settings.

Disabled inheritance
If you disable inheritance for an organization, that organization is not affected by changes to its parent organization.

Disable cold storage

You can disable cold storage entirely by changing the "Move deactivated archives to cold storage for" setting to 0 days.

Bring archives out of cold storage

You can bring archives out of cold storage so that you can again use them for backup and restore. Archives can only be brought out of cold storage if they have not yet been purged.

To bring archives out of cold storage, do one of the following: 

  • Activate a deactivated user
    The user's archives are moved out of cold storage and all devices associated with the user account are reactivated immediately. If the user signs in to the CrashPlan app on the same device that was used before deactivation, backup resumes automatically. 
  • Activate a deactivated device
    The device's archives are moved out of cold storage. When the user logs in to the device, backups resume automatically.

Restore files from cold storage

To restore files from archives in cold storage, first bring archives out of cold storage as described above, and then restore the files from the CrashPlan console

Remove data from cold storage

To remove a backup archive from cold storage before the end of the cold storage retention period, you can purge the archive from cold storage.

Purged archives
Archives purged from cold storage are permanently removed, and associated data is unrecoverable.

For detailed information on removing data from cold storage, see Purge CrashPlan cold storage.

Expired archives

When an archive's cold storage retention period is over, it becomes an expired archive. Expired archives are marked for deletion and are not recoverable.

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